Nietzsche's System

Nietzsche's System

Nietzsche's System

Nietzsche's System


This book argues, against recent interpretations, that Nietzsche does in fact have a metaphysical system--but that this is to his credit. Rather than renouncing philosophy's traditional project, he still aspires to find and state essential truths, both descriptive and valuative, about us and the world. These basic thoughts organize and inform everything he writes; by examining them closely we can find the larger structure and unifying sense of his strikingly diverse views. With rigor and conceptual specificity, Richardson examines the will-to-power ontology and maps the values that emerge from it. He also considers the significance of Nietzsche's famous break with Plato--replacing the concept of "being" with that of "becoming." By its conservative method, this book tries to do better justice to the truly radical force of Nietzsche's ideas--to demonstrate more exactly their novelty and interest.


My aim is to offer a systematic reading of Nietzsche's thought--a reading that is conservative in its method and approach, but that tries thereby to capture better the radical lessons in his thought. I suppose, conservatively, that Nietzsche's writings do articulate a system of claims, and that he still aims these claims to be true. I try to render this system with a conceptual specificity and clarity that are at least cousins to those practiced by analytic philosophers. But I also try to adapt these standards to do full justice to the extraordinary content of his claims--a content so radical that it revises the very type of truth it purports to have.

I present this project in detail in the Introduction. Here let me mention some procedural and technical points.

Most of my references to Nietzsche are to work--abbreviated to the familiar English-translation codes given in the Bibliography--and section number; for example, BGE1. Further letters refer to prefaces, forewords, and so on, again according to codes supplied in the Bibliography; for example, BGE/P. An intermediate roman numeral refers to a chapter or part with separately numbered sections; for example, TL/I/1. Exceptions to this policy are P&T and PortN, which I cite by page number; for example, P&Tp5. Sometimes I also add a page number for works (BT, UM, PTAG) with very long sections; for example, BT1p33. In EH I cite the chapters discussing Nietzsche's earlier works, using those works' abbreviations; for example, EH/BT/1.

Where I cite or quote writings Nietzsche did not complete (or approve) for publication, I supply the year of composition in brackets; for example, WP957 [1885]. I do this both (1) to alert the reader that these . . .

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